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Which Ruger single action .45 do I want?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by stevekl, Jun 3, 2006.

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  1. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    After looking over the collection of Ruger SAs at the gun shop, I am blown away by the different models of .45 colt single actions. As far as I can tell, there is:

    Blackhawk
    Vaquero
    New Vaquero
    Bisley Vaquero
    Possibly others?t

    I'm aware of some of the differences, the obvious and the not-so obvious. I know that a Blackhawk has adjustable sights while the rest don't, the Blackhawk doesn't come in stainless (right?), the Blackhawk also comes with a .45 ACP cylinder, the Bisley has a different grip frame, etc. But I would really like it if someone could please give me a short list of the differences between all the different .45 colt single actions available from Ruger. Because I know I want a SA .45, but i'm not sure which one I want, you see, until I know the differences.
     
  2. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

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    Depends on what you want to do (see quote at the bottom). I lean to the blued adustable sighted Blackhawks in 4 5/8" barrel, and would get either the .357 or .45 Convertible guns. Short, lighter, versatile, good enough for anything you need to do with it. Either of those would have served me well since adolescence (which is way over the horizon in the rear view mirror).
     
  3. scratchy wilson

    scratchy wilson Member

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    I can tell you which one you don't want...

    ...MINE:evil:


    Just stumbled on an older 3 screw that has a .45ACP cylinder that must've been fitted before the transfer bar stuff-leastwise mine doesn't have it. Doesn't look like it's been out of the box much.

    I'm fairly sure that the .45Colt is available in stainless, though the convertible might be an occasional offering.





    I think.
    :scrutiny:
     
  4. Tom C.

    Tom C. Member

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    I have stainless Blackhawks in .45 and .357. I sent the .45 Blackhawks back and had 5 1/2" barrels and .45 ACP cylinders fitted. I also have one of the 5 1/2" Stainless Bisleys in .45 Colt. My personal preferences.
     
  5. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    The FIRST decision you need to make is: "to I need to shoot the real stomper "Ruger ONLY!!!" loads?"

    Think of 45LC ammo as falling into three categories: "CAS/SASS super mild", "intermediate defensive/hunting" and "44Mag and beyond".

    The intermediate stuff includes hardcast 250/255gr to about 1,000fps, or various 200/225gr JHPs by Cor-Bon, Speer Gold Dot-based by numerous ammo houses, the Winchester Silvertip and some others. These can be shot out of a Colt SAA or Ruger New Vaquero no problem.

    If you don't need more power than that, the Ruger New Vaq is a very nice gun. You're more likely to get one that's accurate out of the box due to a new cylinder boring process. Prior Ruger SA centerfires drilled all six cylinder bores at once with six drill bits, which could lead to different-sized cylinder bores by a fraction on each gun. The New Vaqs are being drilled one at a time by a single drill bit in sequence, rotating the cylinder to meet the drill bit. It's not quite line boring but it's closer and better consistency is being reported. My New Vaq in 357 is shooting sub-2" groups at 25yds, not half bad.

    The New Vaq also has a generally smaller profile and feel but is compatible with a lot of other Ruger parts, including grip frame, trigger and hammer options from the rest of the product line...way more customization options than the Taurus Gaucho or Beretta Stampede.

    If you DO want to run stomper loads, then get whatever you want in the Blackhawk/"Old Vaquero"/Bisley line. The Bisleys are known for being controllable with big power levels. Really hot loads often involves 300gr+ at 1,200fps+ and are NOT for use in the New Vaq but can be shot from any other factory Ruger 45LC or any conversion to same based on the "44Mag class frame".
     
  6. BlkHawk73

    BlkHawk73 Member

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    The BH, and Bisley are the same gun except for the gripframe, trigger and hammer. Of course the Bisley sin't cataloged in stainless and they have the roll rarked cylinder. There are .45Colt/45 ACP models but not all are. There are stainless 45 Colt BH's.
    The Vaquero is simply a fix sighted BH while Bisley Vaqueros are just a std vaquero with the Bisley gripframe, trigger and hammer. Both of these modles are out of production.
    The New Vaquero is basically a medium sized (scaled don) Vaquero. It does have the original style Ruger gripframe also.

    All are available in stainless. The stainless Bisley (BH model) was done in two runs and distributed only through Acusport. There were approx. 1200 in .45 Colt produced and are fairly difficult to find (got 2, ain't selln'). Another smaller run in a 45Colt/45 ACP was done last year with I'm told another small run being done this yr.
     
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I can tell you what I like in mine, but you may need different. I don't shoot cowboy stuff. I see that as the only real use for a Vaquero. I prefer adjustables because I see the gun as a field carry gun and perhaps hunting gun and I have two load levels that hit two different POIs. I have elevation marks on the rear sight and adjust for which ever load I'm shooting. I like stainless since I'm carrying afield.

    You may prefer Bisley grips, lots of folks do. I've tried 'em, prefer the standard blackhawk. It rolls back in my hand absorbing recoil better and I don't have particularly large hands.

    Make your choice based on your needs and preferences.

    Oh, yes it is...:D

    [​IMG]
     
  8. bakert

    bakert Member

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    MCgunner, normally I don't much care for engraved guns but that one is a beautiful revolver. Think what appeals to me is no engraving on the barrel. That really makes it look better IMO and doesn't seem overdone like many I've seen. Although I like all Rugers single actions, I think that's the best looking one I've seen..
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2006
  9. bakert

    bakert Member

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    Double post erased
     
  10. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    Gonna bump my own thread to ask:

    Is it possible to get a blued Blackhawk, chambered in .45 Colt, which has black rubber grips?

    That is what I really want, but I don't see such a combination on Ruger's site.

    I see that I can get a blued .45 Colt/ACP Blackhawk with Rosewood grips. How easy would it be to find rubber grips to fit on such a piece?
     
  11. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    You can definitely get the blackhawk in blue. For about 25 bucks or less, you can buy Pachmayr rubber grips for it. I don't know about hard rubber, what's available. There's a LOT of grips available for the blackhawk, though. Check out http://www.ajaxgrips.com .

    http://www.ajaxgrips.com/ajax/pachmayr?set=12,44c67a33&geometry=4x3-1-03

    Thanks! What really kept me from any barrel engraving was that gawd awful Ruger warning on the barrel, figured what's the point? ROFL. I'd like another barrel on it maybe countersink crowned (like the way it looks) with a little light engraving at the muzzle, but the one on it is so accurate, I don't wanna fix what ain't broke.
     
  12. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    The Blackhawk and Vaquero share frame size ahd grip frame. The Blackhawk has adjustable sights.

    Only the Blackhawk Convertible has the extra cylinder. And Ruger has stopped fitting extra cylinders to guns that didn't leave the factory with one.

    Both the Blackhawk and the Vaquero could be purchased as/converted to a Bisley.

    The New Vaquero uses the same frame size as the 50th Anniversary .357 Blackhawk which was the original frame size before they standardized everything on the .44 frame.
     
  13. bakert

    bakert Member

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    Here's mine in blue. It's .45 Colt/.45ACP convertible. BTW I think there are hard rubber grips available but not sure where to find 'em.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. eastwa

    eastwa Member

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    IMO you can't go wrong with any of them. The only drawback is caliber exclusive... you need to roll your own to get the full benefit of the 45colt. "Mild to wild", its a hoot to shoot. These are mine:
    4 5/8" for general packin'
    7 1/2" Lipsey Hunter plowhandle for everything else
     

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  15. dairycreek

    dairycreek Member

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    As long as you are asking for opinions.............

    [​IMG]

    I just find a Bisley hard to beat.
     
  16. rWt

    rWt Member

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    An older style Bisley with the barrel shortened to 5 1/2". Hard to beat!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. rWt

    rWt Member

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    And, then, just to confuse things. Here's a great, 4" S&W 25-5 (45 Colt), which is also hard to beat. It won't take the heavy 45 loads. But, it will happily shoot the loads I like to shoot a lot.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    What is the best barrel length for a .45 colt Blackhawk in terms of balance?
     
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    It depends on what you mean by "balance."

    In general, a muzzle-heavy gun will be easier to shoot offhand. That makes the 7 1/2" barrel a winner. It also has a longer sight radius -- another plus. However, such a gun is often unhandy to carry or wear -- particularly in a vehicle. I personally think the 5 1/2" barrel is the best combination of portability and shootability.
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I've got a 6.5" blackhawk I like a lot, it's in .357 magnum, but it's handy. It's as easy to tote as the 4 5/8 .45 because it's blued and weighs very little more if any because the blued guns also have an aluminum grip frame. That also makes it more muzzle heavy which makes it easier to hit with along with the longer sight radius. I still like the 4 5/8 gun for general toting afield, but I have actually hunted with the 6.5" gun. It's friggin' accurate with irons at 100 yards and the sight radius makes it easier to aim/shoot accurately.

    The 5.5" barrel would, indeed, be a good compromise between the two, but it's not like the 4 5/8 inch gun is incapable of hunting to 100 yards, I shoot it well. And, it ain't like I can't tote the 6.5" gun, 'cause I have. Heck, buy one of each barrel length and you have your bases covered. :D

    That's exactly why I love single actions like the blackhawk for outdoor use, the POWER you can get out of 'em with heavy bullets at supersonic velocities. If I could afford a Freedom Arms I'd get one in .454, too, though .45 Colt is really enough for me. For a double action, I'd ditch the .45 Colt and go with a Mountain Gun in .44 mag.

    Nice lookin' N frame. Love the grips. :D
     
  21. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    I really wish that Ruger would make a .45 or a .44 with a 6½" barrel like they do in .357 and .41.
    I think they really balance the best.





    As for that Model 25-5. It will handle hotter ammo than many people think.
    No it won't handle as hot as a Ruger but it'll handle everything at the SAAMI upper end.

    For people who just want to go overload crazy I just recommend a .357 Blackhawk or an N-Frame.

    Better yet, get a Thompson Center Encore.



    Why do so many people try to get a gun or cartridge to do what it was never designed for?
     
  22. bakert

    bakert Member

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    quote;
    "As for that Model 25-5. It will handle hotter ammo than many people think"

    Look up some of John Linbaugh's articles on .45 Colt loads in the model 25. Kind of eye opening about the loads it will take.
     
  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I don't shoot much heavy stuff out of my blackhawk, but chose the .45 Colt because I could get .44 mag like power out of it with a heavier bullet and less working pressure just in case I wanted to. However, my heavy load settled on 300 grains, not any heavier than the .44 can handle. But, I like the blackhawk's handiness and didn't want a superblackhawk. I wanted the short barrel in this gun, too. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm happy with mine and its performance. I don't need no double action. I prefer single actions for outdoor stuff and will continue carrying one in my holster. I originally wanted it for hog hunting with dogs, but I haven't done that in a long time. It's still a comfort in black bear/lion country, though, a little more on the muzzle end than my .357 blackhawk can muster, though the .357 is enough, I'm sure.

    I have a contender, too. It's for hunting, not hiking, and while I have a .45 Colt barrel for it, I hunt with a .30-30, nearly as much energy at 200 yards as the .45 colt at the muzzle, something like 960 ft lbs at 200 yards. The Nosler's BC accomplishes that. 1.5 MOA accuracy don't hurt either. the big bullet guys might dismiss the .30-30 as they do the 9mm, but trust me, it works on deer and big hogs even though the bullet is only 150 grains and .308" in diameter. It's the energy that does it...;)

    BTW, when I get up to heaven (hopefully), I'll ask Elmer Keith your question.
     
  24. jondar

    jondar Member

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    Don't like to air my ignorance but I have a Bisley in 44. Mag marked Ruger Vaquero 5 1/2" barrell, ser #56-95XXX, warning on barrell my son gave me for Christmas. How can I tell if I have a new or old Vaquero>
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Someone else will have to respond for a positive ID, but I'd think it'd be the older Vaquero since the frame is heavier, on the Blackhawk pattern. I understand the new Vaqs are more Coltish in size and strength (for the cowboy shooting consumer) and I doubt they would hold up well to .44 pressures.
     
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